Boxer Crabs: With Anemones Like This…

Happened across this short (but fascinating) article on the boxer crab by Ed Yong.

It seems this species of crab carries sea anemones, using them sometimes as weapons and sometimes as an extension of their own claws. But that’s not the most interesting part.

The big question is: where do the crabs get these anemones. And the answer, in part, is that they make them. By ripping them apart.

The crab grabs the anemone in both claws, stretches it outwards, and uses its legs to slice through the middle. And since anemones can regenerate their bodies, each half eventually became a complete animal in its own right. The crab, by bisecting its partner, also clones it.

I was aghast on first reading the description, but then slowly started to feel a little better about things. Because the anemone is essentially ok, and is… cloned?

The process doesn’t sound pleasant at all. But it all works out, because it doubles up? I guess?

An interesting note – these crabs are really quite tiny!

[via MetaFilter, photo via Yisrael Schnytzer]

PS: I absolutely love this comment. Hilarious links.

Exploring Half Moon Bay and the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
Caribbean Cruise, Day 5: Aruba
Shedd Aquarium, 2006

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. For those that have read the article – how about that last paragraph? Is it me, or does Randy Brooks sound kind of sad and forlorn?

    avoision Reply

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